Today I signed the 287(g) Jail Enforcement Officer Memorandum of Agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Jail Enforcement Officer MOA is designed to identify and process aliens who are within the CCSO’s jail who are amenable for removal in line with ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities. The 287(g) program will remove criminal illegal aliens from our community once they’ve been committed to our jail.
This MOA is signed in memory of Zulma Alvarez and her unborn son, as well as all the past and future victims of criminal illegal aliens in Culpeper County. Although I’ve seen others first-hand who have been killed and injured in Culpeper by illegal aliens, Zulma Alvarez and her unborn son were the first killed on my watch as Sheriff of Culpeper. Ms. Alvarez, a Culpeper resident, was killed in a head-on collision on Eggbornsville Road by a drunk driver, Orlando Cruz, on September 6th, 2012. Mr. Cruz was an illegal alien and charged previously in Culpeper County in 2011 and 2012 for driving without a driver’s license. Ms. Alvarez was nine months pregnant with her unborn son at the time of her death.
This office routinely cooperates and regularly works with federal agencies. We’ve often worked with the DEA and FBI to charge local criminals with their federal crimes such as drug distribution or even bank robbery. Just last week we had a detective out of state assisting on a federal investigation. This is not unusual. The ICE MOA is another example of everyday law enforcement.
Thousands of Culpeper residents have never committed a crime to cause them to enter our jail doors. If someone’s poor decisions cause them to enter our jail after already being an illegal guest in our community then it is an entirely foreseeable consequence that they would be handed over to ICE through this new screening process.
Persons with an agenda will continue to attack the 287(g) program as something for a community to fear when in fact the program is of no concern unless one is committed to jail, regardless of immigration status.
Special interest groups from outside Culpeper have been spreading misinformation and using fear tactics to oppose a program that the majority of our community supports. Culpeper residents who I know and respect have opposed this program based on the propaganda and fear tactics of people who do not live here and are not part of our local community. These outside groups are employing the very same fear tactics and community divisiveness that they supposedly oppose.
These special interest groups can no longer claim their ignorance of actual facts about the 287(g) program. Many of them were present in December 2017 when I presented the facts publicly to the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors. However, the 287(g) opponents choose to ignore the facts. I now believe this is clearly part of a larger agenda and it is unfortunate that good people are being manipulated. I condemn the unconscionable pursuit of an agenda that has nothing to do with the 287(g) program.
Given the misinformation being spread, a few points bear repeating:
This is a jail program only, not a street level program. Because it is a JEO program, our Patrol deputies have no authority under this MOA. We will not be training our Patrol Deputies under this program, nor does our MOA allow us to do so.
Another point bears discussion – the opponents’ claims that this program is somehow racist. That claim puzzles me. The opponents seem to suggest that illegal immigration is confined to one race only or predominantly. I have never said that nor do I believe it. That fact is, my Jail Deputies are required to ask everyone booked into the jail if they were born in the United States. This illustrates the reality that it is impossible to tell, by looking, if someone is present in the United States legally. It is curious to me that the very people crying “racism” are at the same time appearing to tie this program primarily to the Hispanic or Latino community.
The biggest shame of the program opponents is the way that they are stirring up fear in the immigrant community with their inaccuracies. By frightening immigrant families into believing that they will be “torn apart,” or that Deputies are going to haul away mothers while their children are in school, or that they will be arrested for reporting a crime, is immoral. The 287(g) opponents know that these are not true, yet are repeating them for their own ulterior motives. Furthermore, they are misleading well-meaning, compassionate Culpeper residents with these untruths, simply by repeating them so often.
The opponents’ willingness to use the fears of the very people they purport to protect as pawns in their fund-raising and publicity games is sickening. Misinformation is spread like so much seed without care of consequence or truth. Furthermore, their use of children to carry their deceptive messages, and to stir up children’s fears, is shameful. It is sad to see this happening in Culpeper.
I have personally had the blood on my hands and picked up the bodies of people in this community who have been killed by criminal illegal aliens. We are a nation of laws and we are a nation with borders. As Sheriff of Culpeper County it is my responsibility to prevent further loss of life in the same manner as that of Zulma who died in that terrible car accident. I take that responsibility seriously and will do all in my power to uphold it.